Florida accounting firms Cross, Fernandez & Riley and Beckert, Price & Rowse plan to merge August 1, allowing CFR to expand operations in a populous part of the state.

CFR has been based in central Florida since 1963, with offices in Orlando and Tampa, but managing partner Jim Cross (pictured) sees further opportunity in Polk County by adding BPR's office in Winter Haven, where BPR has been since 1980.

"Our strategy all along was to be a dominant firm along the I-4 corridor," said Cross. "Polk County was an important part of that mix. Polk County is one of the fastest-growing parts of Florida."

The combined firms will go under the name of Cross, Fernandez & Riley and will have combined revenues of more than $10 million, with about $7 million coming from CFR and $3 million from BPR. Together they will have 12 partners, including four that will be joining from BPR. Altogether, the firm will have about 75 to 80 employees.

The combination will also give BPR's clients access to CFR's resources, including its membership in the BDO Seidman Alliance. "The main reason from their perspective was they were looking for more resources for their clients," said Cross.

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